sun 16/12/2018

CD: The Monkees - Christmas Party | reviews, news & interviews

CD: The Monkees - Christmas Party

CD: The Monkees - Christmas Party

Wake up Sleepy Jean, the Monkees are back to spread some Christmas cheer

The Monkees' Christmas comeback party

It’s astounding to think that given the commercial basis for their whole existence, The Monkees have never released a Christmas album before now. However, it’s a shame that they have waited until the death of one of their number to put out Christmas Party. Even that hasn’t prevented Davy Jones, who passed away in 2012, from performing lead vocals on two of the tunes though.

Christmas Party actually has more of a feel of a Micky Dolenz (who sings on eight of the 13 cuts) solo album with occasional input from Mike Nesmith and Peter Tork. In fact, Tork’s only contribution seems to be a banjo-driven take on the traditional carol “Angels We Have Heard On High”. Nevertheless, as Christmas albums go, the Pre-Fab Four have actually made a largely decent fist of things with the help of guests including XTC’s Andy Partridge, who wrote set opener “Unwrap You at Christmas”, and REM’s Peter Buck, who wrote the title track with Scott McCaughey of the Minus 5, and also contributed guitar to an unlikely cover of Big Star’s “Jesus”.

As with most Christmas albums, Christmas Party is a mixed bag of covers and original songs and some of it is a bit cheesy. The band flit from obvious song choices like a fairly straight version of Paul McCartney’s “Wonderful Christmastime” and Roy Wood’s “I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day”, which sounds strangely thin without the kids’ choir of the original, to a cracking rock’n’roll take on “Merry Christmas Baby”. However, it’s the more psychedelic “House of Broken Gingerbread” and Paisley Underground-tinged title track that provide the real highlights. Nevertheless, for a group of guys who may have long left the public consciousness, The Monkees have produced a surprisingly good, if uneven album to mark the season of good cheer.

The Monkees have produced a surprisingly good, if uneven album to mark the season of good cheer

rating

Editor Rating: 
3
Average: 3 (1 vote)

Share this article

Add comment

Subscribe to theartsdesk.com

Thank you for continuing to read our work on theartsdesk.com. For unlimited access to every article in its entirety, including our archive of more than 10,000 pieces, we're asking for £3.95 per month or £30 per year. We feel it's a very good deal, and hope you do too.

To take an annual subscription now simply click here.

And if you're looking for that extra gift for a friend or family member, why not treat them to a theartsdesk.com gift subscription?

newsletter

Get a weekly digest of our critical highlights in your inbox each Thursday!

Simply enter your email address in the box below

View previous newsletters